Music Upcoming Performances


MRS. LEVIN AND HOFSTRA:
THE HISTORY OF THE RHODA PINSLEY LEVIN MUSIC AWARD


Hofstra University's Rhoda Pinsley Levin Endowed Award for Excellence in Musical Performance was created to help promising senior undergraduate performing musicians in their scholarly or vocational pursuits, and as a memorial to the late Mrs. Levin, a highly regarded pianist, teacher and music patron on Long Island.  Mrs. Levin was active in Hofstra's musical community and held several prominent positions with the Hofstra-based Pro Arte Symphony Orchestra League.

Mrs. Levin's association with Hofstra dates back to 1957, when she supplemented her prior Masters Degree in Music Education with two years of additional courses to qualify for a certificate to teach all curriculum in public schools.  She had already held teaching positions in several public school systems, where she supervised vocal and instrumental music, in addition to her private piano teaching.  During her study at Hofstra, she used her maiden name to avoid any special treatment she might have received as the wife of Harvey J. Levin, who was a university faculty member.


Mrs. Levin with her husband, Harvey J. Levin, in 1965


From 1960 to 1963, Mrs. Levin undertook private piano study with Morton Estrin, an adjunct professor of music at Hofstra.  "She was reluctant to extol her virtues...[but] had nothing to be modest about," remembers Estrin.  "Her performance was clean and intelligent...excellent qualities in her interpretation."  She went on to be the featured performer in numerous piano concerts the university sponsored between 1963 and 1966.

Following that period, she received coaching from another Hofstra-affiliated piano teacher, Blanche Abram.  Abram remembers Mrs. Levin as "intelligent and vibrant...  The combined strength of her intellectual and expressive abilities was always evident...  Her delight at each new insight and enthusiasm...was an inspiration."

When the Pro Arte Symphony Orchestra was established at Hofstra in 1967, Mrs. Levin was involved from its inception.  She was a member of the Orchestra League's Board of Directors, where she ultimately served as vice president.  "Mrs. Levin was very, very active [in raising] thousands and thousands of dollars for the orchestra," said Gabriel Fontrier, a composer and featured speaker in the League's lecture series chaired by Mrs. Levin.  "When the community has a symphony orchestra, to support it becomes an enormous undertaking, and Mrs. Levin was truly one of the champions of the orchestra, one of the ones who did the most."  Mrs. Edmund Coffin, who succeeded Mrs. Levin as the League's vice president, said of her, "A fine musician, she demanded the highest professional standards of herself and of the orchestra."


Mrs. Levin (upper left corner) with fellow Board members of Hofstra's Pro Arte Symphony Orchestra League, 1968


Mrs. Levin's service on the League's Board was cut short by her untimely death in February 1971, following a long bout with cancer.  "She told me three years ago she was living on borrowed time," said Edward N. Beck, the orchestra's manager, shortly after her death.  "But she just went on about her business and there was no complaining from her about it.  She was one of the heroes of the entire symphony effort."

In 1971, Dr. Levin established two memorials to his late wife at Hofstra.  The first was the Rhoda Levin Piano Literature Collection, which is maintained by the Music Department Library.  The other was the Rhoda Pinsley Levin Award for Excellence in Musical Performance, designated for a senior piano student.  In 1989, Dr. Levin reactivated the award with a large endowment, allowing it to become an annual Hofstra tradition.  The award's recipients are performing musicians (preferably pianists) who are featured in recitals at the university each year.


Dr. Levin presenting the 1991 Award to tenor Ron Verderber, with his accompanist Marilyn Sherman-Lehman.  Mr. Verderber
later performed at Hofstra's memorial service for Dr. Levin in 1992 with pianist Shannon Gillespie, the Award's 1990 recipient.

PERFORMING RECIPIENTS

2017 Jacob Fruchtl
2016 Bryan Wysocki
2015 Daniel Maguire
2014 Daniel Rivera
2013 Ryan Hayward
2012 Robert Lombardo
2011 George Hemcher
2010 John Goode
2009 Matthew Koraus
2008 Dorrie Swales
  Jennifer Wells
2007 Debra Kontagianis
2006 Michael Moschetta
2005 Benjamin H. Malkevitch
2004 Nicholas Tochka
2003 Steven P. Blutman
2002 Kellyann Thomas
2001 Marta Siudakiewicz
2000 Janet Ciro
1999 Marisa Guastella
  Frank Iadevaia
1998 Laura D'Alessio
1997 Eng-tze Pan
1996 Margaret Morfis
1995 Kaj Koci
1994 Sarah Chamberlin
1993 David Polan
1992 Susan Napodano
1991 Ron Verderber
1990 Shannon Gillespie

Since Dr. Levin's death in 1992, the endowment and award has been maintained by their son, Adam R. Levin.



Adam Levin with Hofstra President James Shuart at the 1994 Annual Scholarship Reception.  "Hofstra deeply appreciates your family's commitment to quality higher education
and support of our scholarship program, which allows scholastically qualified and highly motivated students to pursue their educational goals," said President Shuart.